Assange, the free information journalist who along with Bradley Manning helped set global revolt in motion, spoke to Occupy London protesters today.
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, appeared at the Occupy London wearing a mask—which police instructed him to remove—and delivered a speech to protesters on banking, the economic situation, police oppression and WikiLeaks.
He said to the crowd, “I ask that all of you demand that foreign bank accounts be opened up and made transparent, the same way that I today have been forced to be made transparent.” This, of course, was mostly likely a pointed reference American banks, but it most certainly could be applied to banks worldwide.
It was the following remark that was Assange’s most constructive, as it really defines what Occupy is about in the final analysis. “This movement is not about the destruction of law, it is about the construction of law.”
Assange also stated to reporters, “Wherever corruption starts in the world, it ends in London.” The free information journalist was likely referring to London’s pre-eminent role in the banking and investment industry, as well as the fact that he has been held under house arrest for 300 days without charges. At this point, the only conclusion that can be made is that his house arrest is an attempt to make his work virtually impossible.
Ultimately, it is rather appropriate that Julian Assange should address the crowd and state that the Occupy protests are part of a movement stretching from “Cairo to London.” WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning were, in large part, pivotal in the sequence of events that led to the Arab Spring, though it certainly was the Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian peoples who took to the streets.
Assange’s speech was symbolic in these terms, but the movement has grown quite beyond his influence at this point.
However, if one were to ask Assange about this global rise for transparency, responsive government and tighter regulation of criminal banking and investment practices, it seems he would simply be happy that people are finally standing up and demanding change.